Friday, June 28, 2013

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Top 10 Ways To Prevent Cancer

Cancer prevention is easier than you think. With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can drastically reduce your risk of many types of cancer. Many factors play a role in cancer development, but the good news is that most can be avoided.

1. Avoid Smoking and Exposure to Smoke

Smoking is the most significant cancer risk factor that we can reduce. It is responsible for not only lung cancer, but many other types of cancer. One of the best ways to prevent cancer is to quit smoking or never start. As soon as you quit, and it's never too late, your body reaps the benefits of being tobacco-free.

2. Practice Sun Safety and Recognize When Skin Changes Occur

Did you know that over one million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year? Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer among men and women, and it accounts for about half of all cancer diagnoses. The good news is that skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. The first step in preventing skin cancer is to avoid UV ray exposure. We can do this by wearing sunscreen, avoiding mid-day sun, wearing protective clothing when outdoors, and by staying away from tanning beds.

3. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

A well-balanced diet is advantageous for many reasons. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables greatly reduces your risk of developing cancer and many other conditions.

Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, which help repair our damaged cells. Green, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are your best bet to help prevent cancer. Studies also show that dark fruits, like blueberries and grapes, may also have anti-cancer properties.

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower appear to pack a powerful punch at preventing cancer, according to numerous studies. Other cruciferous vegetables include bok choy, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage.

4. Limit Red Meat and Animal Fat

Numerous studies show that a diet high in animal fat increases the risk for several types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Red meat contains much more fat than poultry and fish, so reducing the amount of red meat in your diet may help to prevent cancer. A diet high in fat also is major cause of obesity, which is a risk factor for many types of cancer.

5. Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol regularly increases your risk factor for many types of cancer. Studies suggest that men who consume 2 alcoholic drinks per day and women who have 1 alcoholic drink per day significantly increase their risk factors for certain types of cancer.

6. Exercise for Cancer Prevention

Did you know that when you are exercise, you are reducing your risk for many types of cancer? The American Cancer Society recommends exercising 30 or minutes, at least 5 days a week for cancer prevention. Exercising doesn't have to mean going to the gym to lift weights. There are plenty of ways to get exercise into your day. Check out these 10 ways to prevent cancer through exercise for great gym alternatives.

7. Know Your Personal and Family Medical History

Knowing your family history of cancer is important to properly assess your risk factor for certain types of cancer. We know that cancers like breast, colon, ovarian, and possibly other types can be hereditary.   If you know that a certain type of cancer runs in your family, let your doctor know. Together, you can determine a proper screening plan and assess your true risk. Genetic testing and counseling is available and may be recommended based on your family's medical history.

8. Know What You're Being Exposed to in Your Work Environment

Chemicals in the workplace may increase your risk of developing many types of cancer, including kidney cancer and bladder cancer. If you are exposed to fumes, dust, chemicals, etc. in the workplace, you have a legal right to know what you are being exposed to. Gasoline, diesel exhaust, arsenic, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, and chloromethyl ethers are all carcinogens and can be found in some work environments. Talk to your employer about limiting exposure.

9. Practice Safe Sex

You may wonder what sex has to do with cancer. Unsafe sex can result in the infection of the human papillomairus (HPV), a known cause for cervical cancer and a risk factor for many other types of cancer. HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that is spread through sexual, skin-to-skin contact. A vaccine, Gardasil, to prevent HPV was approved by the FDA in 2006 and protects against four strains of HPV that are associated with cervical cancer and other types. HIV/AIDS is also associated with some types of cancers.

10. Get Screened for Cancer Regularly

Cancer screening tests can be useful not only in detecting cancer, but also helping prevent it. Screening tests like the colonoscopy and Pap smear can detect abnormal cellular changes before they turn cancerous. The key to their effectiveness, however, is that they are done regularly.

Other cancer screening tests are available and may be useful for early detection, but not necessarily cancer prevention. Prostate cancer screening through digital rectal exams and PSA tests can help detect prostate cancer early. Mammograms and other imaging tools are also recommended to detect breast cancer in women.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

6 Reasons to Drink More Water

Scientifically speaking, water is the basis of life, but beyond being essential to your very existence, water serves all sorts of purposes that help you feel your absolute best. No, it can't cure cancer (though it may help prevent it), pay your rent (though it does save you money), or take out the trash, here are six reasons H2O can help solve many annoying day-to-day health issues-and possibly prevent a few big ones-from headaches to those last few pounds. 

1. Water boosts metabolism

Trying to lose weight? Drinking water can boost your body's ability to burn fat. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water (about 17oz) increases metabolic rate by 30 percent in healthy men and women. The boost occurred within 10 minutes but reached a maximum 30-40 minutes after drinking.  (Drinking water between meals is bad for digestion – This is one line that has been passed down from generation to generation. However, there is no scientific evidence to indicate that it will affect the digestive process. At the most, it will probably fill you up and reduce your appetite for dinner. But besides that, go ahead and enjoy a glass of water with every meal).

2. Drinking Water Helps to eat Less:

Studies also suggest that drinking one or two glasses of water before a meal can fill you up so you naturally eat less, says Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Plus, even mild dehydration will slow down metabolism by as much as 3 percent. 2. It safeguards your heart: Speaking of essential for life…drinking a good amount of water could lower your risk of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drank more than five glasses of water a day were 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses. Bonus: Drinking all that water may reduce cancer risk as well. Research shows that staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45 percent, bladder cancer by 50 percent, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk too.

3. Water prevents headaches: 

The most debilitating kind as well: Migraines. In one study published in the journal Neurology, scientists recruited migraine sufferers and divided them into two groups: one took a placebo, the others were told to drink 1.5 liters of water (about six cups) in addition to their usual daily intake. At the end of two weeks, the water group had experienced 21 fewer hours of pain than those in the placebo group, as well as a decrease in pain intensity.

4. Water boosts your brainpower: 

Your brain needs a lot of oxygen to function at optimum levels, so drinking plenty of water ensures that it's getting all it needs. In fact, drinking eight to 10 cups of water per day can improve your levels of cognitive performance by as much as 30 percent. The door swings both ways: Research shows that a dehydration level of just 1 percent of your body weight reduces thinking functions, so staying well-hydrated is super important for your mental performance .

5. It makes you rich: 

Making water your go-to drink saves a lot of money in the long run. Even though 60 percent of the U.S. population buys bottled water , it's still cheaper, on average, than juices, sodas, and Starbucks- especially when you buy it by the case. What's even cheaper: buying a filter and drinking water out of the tap. To put it in perspective, replacing your daily can of soda at lunch with a free-from-the-tap glass of water (or water cooler if you have access to one) can save you about $180 a year. 

6. It keeps you alert: 

Dehydration is the single most common cause of daytime fatigue , so if your afternoon slump is more like a desperate need for an afternoon nap, guzzle a glass of water. It can also make you better at your job, or at least prevent you from being bad at a it-just a two percent dehydration level can trigger short-term memory problems and difficulty focusing on a computer screen or printed page.